The Clovehitch Killer: What’s the true story?

The Clovehitch Killer: What’s the true story?

Jamie Sugay
September 20 2022 - 12:26am

The Hollywood rendition of ‘The Clovehitch Killer’ tells the story of Tyler Burnside- a dedicated Christian from Kentucky. 

In this 2018 thriller, Tyler’s town is ready to forget about its dark past, and the 10 lives taken away by the serial killer with the moniker‘ Clovehitch Killer.’

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As the saying goes, it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie, but Tyler’s curiosity gets the better of him as he sees a sadomasochist-themed photo in his dad’s truck. He’s convinced his father is somehow involved in the murders and stops at nothing to uncover the truth. 

Writers of the movie say it’s based on the infamous BTK Killer. We put this to the test and see which parts are real, and which are fiction. 

Here’s what we found out:

The murderer’s modus operandi

The movie ‘Clovehitch Killer’ takes inspiration from Dennis Rader, aka the BTK Killer. Dennis was the eldest child in his family with no traumatic past that could cause him to become the cold-blooded killer he became.

However, an alarming indication of his innate cruelty was when he began subjecting stray animals to extreme torture, later killing them. 

He tried studying at the Kansas Wesleyan University but later put his education on hold to serve in the US Air Force. After he was discharged, he got married and returned to school, this time earning a degree in the Administration of Justice. 

Like the main character in the movie, Rader started murdering within his community and lived a duplicitous life as a community-serving and loving father and a ruthless murderer behind the unassuming facade.

Rader and the Clovehitch killer had a similar modus operandi- stalking their victims with hunter-like precision before binding, torturing, and killing them to achieve sick sexual gratification. 

Both also took a 10-year hiatus, before resuming their sick game. 

Another similarity is that both the fictional killer and the real BTK killer left clues for police officers as a taunt. 

At the end of the movie, Tyler kills his father in an ironic act of justice after he finds out that he was the Clovehitch Killer. 

In reality, though, the BTK killer’s arrogance is what does him in, leading the police to find out his identity.

Who was the BTK Killer?

BTK, which means ‘bind, torture, kill,’ was Dennis Rader’s signature serial killer modus operandi. Police officers estimate that Rader was actively killing for 17 years and have taken the lives of at least ten people in his Kansas hometown. 

He was only caught in 2005 and is currently serving ten consecutive life sentences. Now 76, it is safe to say that he won’t be leaving jail alive.

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Where can you watch ‘The Clovehitch Killer?’

While the movie was released a couple of years back in 2018, murder porn fans will be glad to note that ‘The Clovehitch Killer’ is available on major streaming networks like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and of course, Netflix.

Meet the cast of ‘The Clovehitch Killer

The cast of ‘The Clovehitch Killer’ may not be Hollywood A-listers, but they are some of the best character actors in this generation. 

Here are a few of them:

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Charlie Plummer as Tyler Burnside

Charlie Faulkner Plummer was born into a family dedicated to the performing arts. His mom is theater actress Maia Guest while his father is writer-producer, John Christian Plummer. 

Charlie is only 23 years old but has won the prestigious Marcello Mastroianni Award for the best emerging actor.

Dylan McDermott as Don Burnside

Dylan McDermott may not be the best-known leading man in Hollywood, but many would agree that he has made significant contributions to television and film. He first gained popularity for playing the role of Bobby Donnel in ‘The Practice,’ which received critical acclaim and a Golden Globe award. He’s also starred in four of the American Horror Story franchises.

Samantha Mathis as Cindy Burnside

Samantha Mathis began her acting career at three with a baby product commercial with her mom Bibi Besch who was at the beginning of her acting career. She is best known for her role in ‘Pump Up the Volume' where she played opposite her then-real-life lover, Christian Slater.

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